A thrilling odyssey through an unforgiving landscape, from "Canada's greatest living explorer."
In the spring of 2017, Adam Shoalts, bestselling author and adventurer, set off on an unprecedented solo journey across North America's greatest wilderness. A place where, in our increasingly interconnected, digital world, it's still possible to wander for months without crossing a single road, or even see another human being.
Between his starting point in Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory, to his destination in Baker Lake, Nunavut, lies a maze of obstacles: shifting ice floes, swollen rivers, fog-bound lakes, and gale-force storms. And Shoalts must time his departure by the breakup of the spring ice, then sprint across nearly 4,000 kilometers of rugged, wild terrain to arrive before winter closes in.
He travels alone up raging rivers that only the most expert white-water canoeists dare travel even downstream. He must portage across fields of jagged rocks that stretch to the horizon, and navigate labyrinths of swamps, tormented by clouds of mosquitoes every step of the way. And the race against the calendar means that he cannot afford the luxuries of rest, or of making mistakes. Shoalts must trek tirelessly, well into the endless Arctic summer nights, at times not even pausing to eat.
But his reward is the adventure of a lifetime.
Heart-stopping, wonder-filled, and attentive to the majesty of the natural world, Beyond the Trees captures the ache for adventure that afflicts us all.
Adam Shoalts has been called one of Canada's greatest living explorers and in 2018 was named an Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is also an historian, archaeologist, and geographer, and his book Alone Against the North was a #1 national bestseller. His second book, A History of Canada in Ten Maps was also national bestseller. Shoalts holds a Ph.D. from McMaster University where his doctoral research examined the influence Indigenous oral traditions had on explorers and fur traders in Canada's subarctic and Pacific Northwest. He has done archaeology in four countries and enjoys long walks in the woods.
“[Shoalts] brings us along on his solo journey across the Arctic, infused with the wonder of seeing this majestic land and the urgency of making it back before winter sets in.”
“[A]mple moments of adrenaline and suspense and descriptions of breathtaking natural beauty in his voyages, but it’s his thirst for the unknown—the blank spots—that resonated.”
—The New York Review of Books
“When reading Beyond the Trees, one gets the impression of author Adam Shoalts as a kind of Jack Kerouac meets Jack Reacher: an obsessive wanderer at his calmest in the midst of catastrophe.”
—Atlantic Books Today
“[Beyond the Trees] might just soothe your need for adventure. . . . wonder-filled . . . [a] beautiful book.”
“. . . the adventure of a lifetime [told] in thrilling detail.”
“A wild adventure...riveting.”
“[A] rousing adventure story . . .”
“[An] homage to the wilds of the Canadian North. . . . If you love an outdoor adventure, Beyond the Trees is for you.”